New York County District Attorney

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District Attorney of New York County
District Attorney Vance at a June 2011 press conference
Incumbent
Cy Vance

since January 1, 2010
Website ManhattanDA.org
The office operates out of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse at 1 Hogan Place (100 Centre Street)
The DA also operates out of the Louis J. Lefkowitz State Office Building on 80 Centre Street (141 Worth Street).

The New York County District Attorney is the elected district attorney for New York County (Manhattan), New York. The office is responsible for the prosecution of violations of New York state laws. (Federal law violations in Manhattan are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York). The current District Attorney is Cyrus Vance, Jr.

History[edit]

In the legislative act of February 5, 1796, New York State was divided into seven districts which had each an Assistant Attorney General, except New York County where Attorney General Josiah Ogden Hoffman prosecuted personally until 1801.[1]

From 1801 to 1813, New York County was part of the First District which included the then existing counties of New York, Suffolk, Queens, Kings, Richmond and Westchester (now comprising the area of Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, Staten Island, Westchester and Suffolk). In 1813, Westchester Co. was redistricted to a new district with Rockland and Putnam counties. In 1815, New York County was excluded from the First District and became the Twelfth District, at the time the only one consisting of a single county. In 1818, all 13 districts were broken up, and every county in the State of New York became a separate district.

From 1874 to 1895, the County of New York included the West Bronx, and from 1895 to 1913 all of what is today the County of Bronx, governing the same area as does the present Borough of the Bronx.[2] Since January 1, 1914, the boundaries of New York County have been identical to those of the Borough of Manhattan.

Until 1822, the district attorney was appointed by the Council of Appointment, and held the office "during the Council's pleasure", meaning that there was no defined term of office.

Under the provisions of the State Constitution of 1821, the D.A. was appointed to a three-year term by the Court of General Sessions.[1]

Under the provisions of the State Constitution of 1846, the office became elective by popular ballot.[1] The term was three years, beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31. In case of a vacancy, the Governor of New York filled the vacancy temporarily until a successor was elected, always to a full term, at the next annual election. An acting D.A. was appointed by the Court of General Sessions pending the Governor's action.

The Consolidation Charter of 1896 extended the term of the incumbent John R. Fellows—who had been elected in 1893 to a three-year term (1894–96)—by a year, and since the City election of 1897, the D.A.'s term coincides with the Mayor's term, being four years long.[3] In case of a vacancy, a special election is held for the remainder of the term, if any.

District Attorneys[edit]

District Attorney Dates in office Party Notes
Richard Riker[4] August 19, 1801 — February 13, 1810 Dem.-Rep.
Cadwallader D. Colden[4] February 13, 1810 — February 19, 1811 Federalist
Richard Riker[4] February 19, 1811 — March 5, 1813 Dem.-Rep.
Barent Gardenier[4] March 5, 1813 — March 31, 1815 Federalist
John Rodman[5] March 31, 1815 — January 28, 1817 Dem.-Rep.
Hugh Maxwell[5] January 28, 1817 — June 11, 1818 Dem.-Rep.
Pierre C. Van Wyck[6] June 11, 1818 — February 13, 1821 Dem.-Rep.
Hugh Maxwell[6] February 13, 1821 — May 1829 Dem.-Rep.
  • last to be appointed by the Council of Appointment
  • re-appointed by the Court of General Sessions to two three-year terms
Ogden Hoffman[6] May 1829 — May 22, 1835 Democratic
  • appointed to two three-year terms
Thomas Phoenix[6] May 22, 1835 — June 4, 1838
  • appointed to one three year term
James R. Whiting[6] June 4, 1838 — June 10, 1844 Democratic
  • appointed to two three-year terms
Matthew C. Paterson[6] June 10, 1844 — January 26, 1846
  • appointed to one three-year term
  • died in office
John McKeon[6] February 6, 1846 — December 31, 1850 Democratic
  • last to be appointed by the Court of General Sessions and first to be elected by popular ballot (at the judicial State election of May 1847 to a term of three and a half years)
N. Bowditch Blunt[6] January 1, 1851 — July 17, 1854 Whig
  • elected to two three-year terms
  • died in office[7]
Lorenzo B. Shepard[6] July 25, 1854 — December 31, 1854 (interim) Democratic
A. Oakey Hall[6] January 1, 1855 — December 31, 1857 Whig
  • elected to a three-year term
Peter B. Sweeny[6] January 1, 1858 — October 5, 1858 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term
  • resigned because of ill health
Joseph Blunt[6] October 1858 — December 31, 1858 (interim) Republican
Nelson J. Waterbury[6] January 1, 1859 — December 31, 1861 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term
A. Oakey Hall[6] January 1, 1862 — December 31, 1868 Republican
Samuel B. Garvin[6] January 1869 — December 31, 1869 (acting)
January 1, 1869 — December 31, 1872 (interim)
Democratic
Benjamin K. Phelps[6] January 1, 1873 — December 30, 1880 Republican
  • elected to three three-year terms
  • died in office
Daniel G. Rollins[6] January 3, 1881 — January 10, 1881 (acting)
January 10, 1881 — December 31, 1881 (interim)
Republican
  • was Assistant D.A. and appointed by the Court of General Sessions, then appointed by Governor Alonzo B. Cornell
John McKeon[6] January 1, 1882 — November 22, 1883 Democratic
  • second tenure, died in office
John Vincent[6] November 22, 1883 — November 30, 1883 (acting) Democratic
  • as one of four Assistant D.A.s, was appointed by the Court of General Sessions to act until the governor's appointment of a successor
Wheeler H. Peckham[6] November 30, 1883 — December 9, 1883 (interim) Democratic
Peter B. Olney[6] December 10, 1883 — December 31, 1884 (interim) Democratic
  • appointed by Governor Cleveland
Randolph B. Martine[6] January 1, 1885 — December 31, 1887 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term
John R. Fellows[6] January 1, 1888 — December 31, 1890 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term
De Lancey Nicoll[6] January 1, 1891 — December 31, 1893 Democratic
  • elected to a three-year term
John R. Fellows January 1, 1894 — December 7, 1896 Democratic
  • second tenure, elected to a three-year term that was extended one year so that the D.A., the Mayor, and other city officers would be elected in the same years
  • died in office shortly before the extra year began[9]
Vernon M. Davis December 7, 1896 — December 19, 1896 (acting) Democratic
  • as the Senior Assistant D.A., appointed by the Court of General Sessions to act until the appointment of a successor by the Governor[10]
William M.K. Olcott December 19, 1896 — December 31, 1897 (interim) Republican
Asa Bird Gardiner January 1, 1898 — December 22, 1900 Democratic
  • elected a four-year term
  • removed from office by Governor Theodore Roosevelt for corruption
Eugene A. Philbin December 22, 1900 — December 31, 1901 (interim) Democratic
  • appointed by Governor Roosevelt
George W. Schurman January 1, 1902 (acting)
  • appointed by Mayor Low until Jerome was sworn in[12][13]
William T. Jerome January 2, 1902 — December 31, 1909 Fusion/Ind.
  • elected in 1901 on a Fusion ticket nominated by Anti-Tammany Democrats, Republicans and Citizens Union
  • re-elected in 1905 as an Independent, was also nominated by the Republican Party too late to appear on the ballot
Charles S. Whitman January 1, 1910 — December 31, 1914 Republican
Charles A. Perkins January 1915 — December 31, 1915 (interim) Republican
  • appointed by Governor Whitman
  • defeated by Swann in a special election
Edward Swann January 1, 1916 — December 31, 1921 Democratic
  • elected to the remainder of Whitman's second term
  • re-elected to a full term
Joab H. Banton January 1, 1922 — December 31, 1929 Democratic
  • elected to two four-year terms
Thomas C. T. Crain January 1, 1930 — December 31, 1933 Democratic
  • elected to a four-year term
William C. Dodge January 1, 1934 — December 31, 1937 Democratic
  • elected to a four-year term
Thomas E. Dewey January 1, 1938 — December 31, 1941 Republican,
American Labor,
City Fusion[14]
  • elected to a four-year term
Frank S. Hogan January 1, 1942 — February 5, 1974 Democratic
  • elected to nine four-year terms
  • tendered resignation on December 26, 1973, but remained in office until Kuh was appointed, shortly after beginning nhis inth term[15]
Richard Kuh February 5, 1974 — December 31, 1974 (interim) Democratic
  • appointed by Governor Malcolm Wilson for the remainder of the year
  • defeated by Morgenthau in Democratic primary for the special election for the remainder of Hogan's term
Robert M. Morgenthau January 1, 1975 — December 31, 2009 Democratic
  • won a special election for the remainder of Hogan's ninth term
  • re-elected to eight four-year terms
Cyrus Vance, Jr. January 1, 2010 — incumbent Democratic
  • elected to two four-year terms

In popular culture[edit]

The long-running television series Law & Order and its spin-offs depict the prosecution of criminal suspects by lawyers of the New York County District Attorney's office. The District Attorneys depicted in the franchise are Adam Schiff, Nora Lewin, Arthur Branch and Jack McCoy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Chester, Alden; Weeks, Lyman Horace; Dougherty, John Hampden (1911). Legal and Judicial History of New York. National Americana Society. 
  2. ^ Geoffrey Hermalyn and Lloyd Ultan, "Bronx" in The Encyclopedia of New York City (1st edition), edited by Kenneth T. Jackson, New York Historical Society and Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut, 1995, ISBN 0-300-05536-6, page 140.
  3. ^ Except 1901 to 1905, when the D.A.'s term was four years, but two mayors served a two-year term each.
  4. ^ a b c d Werner, Edgar A. (1891). Civil List and Constitutional History of the Colony and State of New York. Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parsons, and Company. pp. 553–563. Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Werner (1891), p. 554. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Werner (1891), p. 558. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  7. ^ "New-York State Election — Additional Returns State Ticket — City Vote". New York Times. November 10, 1853. p. 8. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "The State Elections — New-York — The Legislature — Members of Assembly Elected — The Election in the City". New York Times. November 7, 1861. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "Col. John R. Fellows — Dead The District Attorney Passed Away Yesterday — His Older Son Reached Home Too Late to See His Father in Life — Sketch of Col. Fellows's Career". New York Times. December 8, 1896. p. 8. Retrieved 30 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "Favor Vernon M. Davis — Indorsed by Business Men as Col. Fellows's Successor". New York Times. December 12, 1896. p. 7. Retrieved 30 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "Olcott Takes His Office — New District Attorney Sworn In by Justice Pryor — Immediately Reappoints Several Assistant District Attorneys and Announces His Policy for Future Distribution of Patronage". New York Times. December 20, 1896. p. 9. Retrieved 30 November 2016. 
  12. ^ "Mr. Schurman Will Act — To Be District Attorney from Midnight Until Justice Jerome Is Sworn In". New York Times. December 31, 1901. p. 14. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Mr. Jerome Was Not Sworn In — New York Without an Official District Attorney Yesterday — Justices of the Supreme Court Had All Gone Home When He Was Ready to Take the Oath". New York Times. January 2, 1902. p. 2. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  14. ^ "Thomas E. Dewey Is Dead at 68". New York Times. March 17, 1971. p. 1. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  15. ^ "Hogan, District Attorney 32 Years, Dies". New York Times. April 3, 1974. p. 1. Retrieved 29 November 2013. Frank S. Hogan, the shy, courteous lawyer who became a legend in 32 years as Manhattan's District Attorney, died yesterday at St. Luke's Hospital. Mr. Hogan was 72 years old and lived at 404 Riverside Drive. 

External links[edit]